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For-Profit College Oversight Bill Clears House

The Kentucky House Thursday said yes to legislation requiring greater oversight of for-profit colleges in the state. But it wasn’t a resounding yes.

The bill, sponsored by Louisville Representative Reginald Meeks, cleared the chamber 57-38.

“The bill shrinks their board, provides for greater transparency, greater oversight,” he said. “And it moves for-profit schools that offer degree programs over to the CPE [Council on Postsecondary Education] where all other schools that offer degree programs reside.”

“This bill needs to have a little bit more thought put into it and it needs to be organized a little bit better,” said Louisville Representative Jim Wayne, who voted for the measure. “The hope was that in passing it today out of the House, we can send it to the Senate, and in the process it can be improved along the way.”

Louisville Representative Bob DeWeese was among the bill’s opponents.

“There are many of those for-profit schools that are excellent. Sullivan University in Louisville, their cooking school was invited to go to Beijing and cook for all the Olympics the last time we were over there,” he said.

The bill now heads to the Senate. The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Thursday held a third day of hearings on the Medicaid budget bill approved by the House, but took no vote. Lawmakers have only eight more days to finish their work.

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Optometry Bill On Its Way To Beshear

It wasn’t introduced until February. Neither House and Senate leaders nor the governor ever mentioned it as a priority. But a bill allowing optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures currently only done by ophthalmologists—who are medical doctors—is on its way to Governor Steve Beshear for his signature.

It passed the House 81-14, over the objections of Representative Bob DeWeese, who’s a medical doctor.

“Ophthalmologists have been to medical school. They’ve spent five years in surgical training of the eye. And I just wanted to point that out to the body. There is a difference,” he says.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo is defending the legislation. Stumbo admits the bill was heavily lobbied by optometrists, but does not believe it poses any health dangers.

“We all certainly hope that none of the fears do play out. But again, the experience of the other state that has this type of legislation – Oklahoma – it’s been in effect over a decade. That’s not been the case in Oklahoma,” he says.

Aside from DeWeese, the other medical doctor in the House, Representative David Watkins, also opposed the bill.